This cool and casual Korean BBQ spot might not be as well known as its street food-serving Thai sister restaurant Chin Chin, but that’s the way in-the-know locals like it. While tourists queue for more than an hour to eat at Chin Chin in the city, Melburnians make for Kong in Richmond where the food is fiery, the atmosphere lively and—best of all—you usually won’t wait more than 15 minutes for a table. Once you’ve settled yourself on a counter stool overlooking all the action of the open kitchen, order up on smoky, spicy share plates like the sticky chili baby back ribs, soft shell crab buns, and Seoul-style fried wings.
By Eleani Purcell, AFAR Local Expert
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Kong BBQ, A Meal You Will Not Soon Forget
There are a few things I will absolutely drop serious coin for and good food is one of them. But I'm not the Michelin-rated elitist that it sounds. While I enjoy refined dining and even a bit of molecular gastronomy, to me the perfect meal would be elevated street food paired with perfectly crafted cocktails. There's already too much formality in life, so why should my food have to be as stuffy. If I can pick-up my chicken wing with my fingers in the confidence that it's locally sourced, has authentic flavors and is freshly made, I'm being true to who I really am, refined by my worldliness but just a normal girl who can still be rough around the edges at times. And this is why I love Kong BBQ, a Korean BBQ joint. It's a walk-in or take-away with Korean flavors designed for an international palette. And that's what Melbourne is in part, a melting pot of Asian, American and British cuisine, making it a foodie's Mecca. I didn't manage to ever order a main because there was so many things I wanted to taste. Here's the run down: Soft shell crab bun with duck egg relish (pictured), Korean fried chicken wings with honey, garlic and sesame, waguy and kimchi dumplings and BBQ Corn with chili salt and miso butter. Tell me that your mouth isn't watering. I tried the coconut juice cocktail with vodka and lychee fruit mixture (changes daily and can be non-alcoholic) and the passion fruit Sochu Highball. Warning: the meal was not cheap. But it was worth it!
By Elle Ball